The other morning, while working out at the gym, I had a work-related stress playing on an endless loop in my head. Even though the incident had happened a week earlier, I was still obsessing over the whole ordeal (wishing I’d said things I didn’t say at the time, wishing the other party would come to their senses, wishing the whole thing would go away, etc.). Needless to say, my worrying about this incident only made things worse in my mind and even though I’d had a productive workout, left me in a gloomy state of mind as I left the gym.
It was while driving home from working out that I remembered one of the key commands I picked up during dog training that I use pretty frequently with my puppy, Latte.
As anyone who has a dog probably knows, our canine friends occasionally come across a smell, a chicken bone or some other foul object that excites their senses to no end. It’s at this moment that we must command them to “Leave it!” in a terse, authoritative way so that they don’t get into trouble, hurt themselves or (heaven forbid!) end up rolling in something disgusting.
Even though I had been expertly trained to use this command with Latte, I realized after my workout of mental duress that perhaps I needed to use this command on myself. After all, as mentioned, this particular stressful situation had happened a week earlier. So at this point, no one else (not even the offending party) was responsible for my stress and worry other than yours truly. On a virtual level, I was “rolling” in something disgusting. In this case, my own self-defeating thoughts.
So in this case, I was the one who needed to “Leave it!”
When Latte is told to “Leave it,” he usually jumps (having been “caught” doing something that he should know better than to do) and then quickly moves away from the offensive object and is soon distracted by another smell, a passing pooch or some other form of whimsy. Similarly, by telling ourselves to “leave” something that’s weighing us down (figuratively or otherwise), we then, too, have the opportunity to move on to other things — more pleasant things, and with a cleared mind, perhaps even a potential solution to whatever we think we can’t solve while in the throes of “Why me?” We can’t undo what’s transpired. But we can move on if we choose to.
I imagine that, like myself, many of you reading this are sometimes plagued by situations, incidences or predicaments that sometimes can’t be washed away from our brains — as if obsessing over them might offer a solution (which, really, the obsessing never does). Instead, we need to just let it go, move on and welcome another scent (or situation) that can offer us not only new ideas, but also peace.
All together now: “Leave it!”
I’ll conclude by adding that if you ever see me working out with a scowl, feel free to walk over and tersely tell me to, “Leave it!” Like my puppy, Latte, I might jump (having also been “caught”). But I’ll appreciate the reminder that some things need to be left where they belong… In the past.
Have you ever wondered which is healthier for you — wild-caught salmon or farmed salmon? Or when at a restaurant, wondered what visual references you should use to determine how much to eat during one sitting?
Here, I’ve compiled some of your recent “Most Asked Questions” with my answers – along with some exclusive “Just Stop Bonus Tips.” Think of each of these as a calorie-free bonbons (of sorts) – each meant to enrich your life, not to mention help further your quest toward feeling and looking great.
Question: Which is healthier for you? Wild-caught salmon or farmed salmon?
Answer: Wild-caught salmon is healthier, because it contains less pollutants than farm-raised salmon.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: If only farm-raised is available, remove the skin from the farmed salmon (since most of the pollutants are stored in the fat) and cook the salmon all the way through.
Question: Is bottled water better for you than tap water?
Answer: No. Although popular, a recent 4-year study reveals that bottled-water offers no more benefits – or even purity – than tap water. Plus, plastic bottles pollute our world and use up natural resources (not to mention cost way more than simply going to the kitchen sink).
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: Drink from the tap – but be sure to investigate your local water supplies health ratings and even install a filter on the sink itself for when using it for drinking water.
Question: Which is the better choice? Butter or margarine?
Answer: Butter – hands down. Although equaling about the same calories and saturated fat found in butter, margarine also contains dangerous trans fats – usually about 2-3 grams per teaspoon.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: The less processed and more natural a food product is, the healthier it is for you – even if it’s higher in calories and/or fat.
Question: When you can’t control portion size at a restaurant, what visual reference should you use to determine how much of a single serving of meat you should eat at one sitting?
Answer: About 3-4 ounces – approximately the same size of a deck of cards.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: When your food arrives, cut off the portion you’re going to eat and take the rest home to enjoy at another meal.
Question: Which fruit juice is better for you – one that’s virtually clear, or one that appears “cloudy”?
Answer: The murkier the juice, the more antioxidants it contains.
Just Stop! Bonus Tip: The more “clear” the juice appears to be, the more processed it is (and therefore has had much of the actual fruit removed).
The more we know, the more successful we can be. And that’s something to make our heart happy (not to mention heart healthy) every day of the year.
Have questions beyond the ones you see above? Use the contact portion of this blog to let me know what they are and they might be used (and answered) in a future post! (Thanks!)
Photo Source: All Things D
As people who are either working on losing excess weight or making sure we keep it off, it should be our goal to be healthy across the board. This means skin that glows (in other words, skin that reflects how healthy we are on the inside) — no matter how cold it is outside. So here are some helpful tips on making the most of your winter skincare:
H2O a go-go
Just because you’re not feeling as hot (temperature-wise) doesn’t mean you should ease up on the necessary amount of water you should drink per day (depending on your individual needs). Consuming water is good for your internal system year round. When that’s operating at peak capacity, your skin (and everything else) is going to reflect it with a healthy glow. So even if you’re not feeling as parched as you might in the middle of July, keep up the water drinking habit 24/7/365. (Well, not while you’re asleep — but you get the idea.) To help calculate how much water you should be drinking a day, click here.
When it comes to protecting your lips, not all lipbalms are created equal. Look for a formula with shea butter, which goes on soft (as opposed to waxy). If you’re wearing color on your lips, choose a lipstick with lip balm built in (you want to moisturize while you glamorize).
Most hairstylists will tell you that during the winter your hair doesn’t need washed as often as it does during the warmer months of the year. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “clean” your hair. But try using shampoo on one day, conditioner on the next and then just hot water (along with a vigorous scalp massage) on the day after. Try this routine out and your hair just might thank you for it — by looking healthier (please don’t expect a verbal thank you from your hair).
Give Yourself a Hand
Hands have fewer oil glands, which means they get drier faster than the rest of your body. Thus, it’s important to moisturize your hands often during winter months — especially if, like me, you’re constantly washing your hands (sometimes with harsh soaps) in order to avoid winter-related germs. And if the temperatures are especially frigid outside, don’t forget the gloves (needed as much for comfort as they are for protection).
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave the house without your SPF in place on your exposed skin. Look for moisturizing formulas with an SPF of 15 (a more reasonable amount recommended for winter months, as opposed to SPF 30, which is recommended by dermatologists during the summer). Don’t forget that when the sun is shining, cancer-causing UVA rays can even pass through car windows — no matter how cold it is outside.
With moisturizing lotion, that is. This reccomendation applies to your face as much as it does to your body. The same moisturizer you use during the summer doesn’t offer the necessary protection you need for winter’s chill (and winds) — no matter what your home turf’s version of winter is. When it comes to a skin moisturizer for the body, (again) look for something with shea butter listed in the ingredients. As for the face, skip the gel-based formulas you might use in the summer and look for something with a creamier base.
Most skin care specialists recommend not painting your toe nails if they’re going to be covered up during winter months (more to give your toe nails a break from harsh polish removers than anything else). A sweet evening footcare routine can include moisturizing your tootsies with foot cream and then putting on your favorite pair of wooly socks to help encourage the cream to do its best work.
Do you have any winter rituals you put into play for your own skincare routines at this time of year? If so, I’d love to hear them. Until then, please stay warm — weather you’re facing a Southern California winter (like me) or something a little more extreme.
Photo Source: 7 Beauty Tips
Are you or is someone you know suffering from the post holiday blues? These days it seems lots of people are complaining about the weather, holiday shopping bills, their weight or a number of other stresses. But we don’t have to get caught up in these “Winter Blues” ourselves.
No matter where you’re living, cooler weather (however you define it) can take its mental toll. But there are things we can do to cheer ourselves up and keep our attitudes in a positive mode. After all, the better our attitude, the better we do in all areas of our life – including our continual efforts to Just Stop Eating So Much! So next time Old Man Winter is nagging at you, try some of these tried and proven methods to chase the Winter Blues away:
Work it out!
There are no excuses when it comes to exercise. Even if you’re at your goal weight, working out helps your metabolism, your immune system and your state of mind with endorphins that actually increase your good feelings. There’s always something you can do – even in “lousy” weather. For those of you who have a copy handy, my book, Just Stop Eating So Much!, features a complete exercise program you can do at home (no gym necessary ) on page 67. Or for a list of the ‘Top 10 Indoor Exercises for Winter’: Click Here
Finally tackle that task of organizing the family photos. I don’t mean just the ones from this past holiday season. I’m talking about the ones you’ve been keeping in shoeboxes for years. Sure, it’s a big task and might take days to accomplish. But “accomplish” is the key word. By making albums (digital or otherwise) for yourself (and maybe even friends and family members) you’ll feel like you’re really accomplishing something and that will really motivate you in other areas of your life as well. For some helpful tips on organizing photos:Click Here
Rediscover the great outdoors!
Even if there’s tons of snow on the ground, you can still get outside for a quick (if slushy) walk around the block. The fresh air is good for you – even in small, blustery doses. Plus, the change of scenery (from inside to outside) does a lot for our mental well-being. For a guide to preparing for and enjoying winter weather walks: Click Here
Believe it or not, it’s not always lethargy that leaves us feeling anxious and depressed. It’s important to get plenty of rest during the winter months. When you’re overtired, you’re overwhelmed. And sleeping late one day does not make up for sleep lost during the rest of the week. So make sure to get all the sleep you need – every night of the week. For some ideas on how to get a better night’s rest: Click Here
Laugh it up!
Change your mood instantly with a funny book or DVD. There are lots of great TV shows on DVD or via online streaming services that allow you to check out several episodes all at once. For Reader’s Digest’s list of the Best Sitcoms Ever: Click Here
There are also some amusing books that can “take you away from it all” and can tickle your funny bone at the same time. To check out a list of what some consider to be very funny books: Click Here
Photo Source: ZME Science
It’s that time of (new) year when I’m bombarded with questions about losing weight. When learning that I took off and have kept off 250-plus pounds of excess weight over a decade ago, friends, family members and strangers all want to know my “secret.” When they hear it was accomplished through old-fashioned eating less and moving more, they register a look of disappointment (having wanted the “magic wand” answer). But they still commit to losing weight and getting into shape for the New Year — resolutions I whole-heartedly support via Just Stop Eating So Much! as well as my blogs written for The Huffington Post.
But no matter what your resolutions this January, you might be surprised that when it comes to the common “Out with the old and in with the new” attitude, I actually encourage people to hold onto the old.
There are lots of reasons for this — beginning with the unhelpful notion that we’ve been doing things “wrong” up until now. Fact is, now is where we’re at. This month. This day. This minute. And everything we’ve gone through (even the seemingly mistaken decisions) has made us who we are today. And this includes being someone who’s ready to initiate real and lasting change.
When we start bashing ourselves, mentally, or even deciding that we’ve been living life incorrectly, we fall into a trap that can actually lead us back to the bingeing (or whatever) cycles that got us into this need for change predicament in the first place.
Instead, I suggest not only accepting your past, but embracing it. Keep it as a part of who you are — and wear it as a gold medal ribbon that indicates you’re not only a survivor, but a thriver.
There are actually some very good lessons to be found in our past mistakes. For example, I remember when I used to overdo it, food-wise, and would wake up in the middle of the night in terrible pain, sweating profusely and tasting the remnants of the previous night’s meal in my throat because the food in my overstuffed stomach was virtually bubbling over. I also remember what it was like to have an important meeting (whether for business or even with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages) and having to say a “Hail Mary” (even though I’m not Catholic) in order to get my jeans up around my hips. (Side note: Mary often did not come through and I had to opt for sweatpants with a more forgiving waist.)
Remembering these things helps me in the now — even over 10 years after I took off all of the excess weight. It’s a part of who I am. I know these are situations I never want to have to experience again. Thus I now reach for an apple more often than a donut as a result. And on that same note, I even keep the reasons that I started overeating in the first place with me (abusive parents, sexual predator, my love of ice cream — the list goes on). To deny or suppress that any of these issues happened might lead the same kind of behavior that had me overeating in the first place — stuffing down these memories with food in an effort to try and block them from my psyche.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wear these life events as scars, but as merit badges… As proof that I have what it takes to survive. And that means I have what it takes to meet any goals (whether food-, health- or otherwise-related). Sometimes “Well, that happened” can be the best kind of therapy. With acceptance comes peace. And with peace comes the real ability to ask yourself, “Where do I want to go from here?”
So as January progresses and you look in the mirror with determination to accomplish whatever goals you’ve carved out for yourself, remember to look at your whole self… Every inch of yourself (both physically and metaphorically). You have made all the right decisions in the past — even if you would make some of them differently today. But just the very fact that you know this proves that you learned from those supposed “incorrect” decisions — and that you can make more productive decisions from here on out.
Own your “old.” Embrace it. Accept it. And choose to move forward — hopefully with not only determination, but also grace, gratitude and a sense of humor (all of which will, thankfully, add no additional calories to your New Year eating plan).